Exit polls project 2nd term for BJP in Assam; Cong says it isn’t the true picture
Most exit polls on the assembly polls in Assam, which concluded last month, have projected another term for the Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition in the state. The exit polls, a poll of voters taken immediately after they exit the polling stations, have projected that the Congress-led alliance of 10 parties will come second while smaller parties clubbed as Others will have a negligible impact.
The votes will be counted on May 2.
The Assam assembly has 126 seats and a party or alliance needs 64 seats to form government.
The India Today predicts the BJP will get 75-85 seats and the Congress, 40-50 seats. A similar projection has been made by the Axis My India poll. News24-Chanakya gives 70 seats to BJP and 56 to Congress. The Republic-CNX poll gives 74-84 seats to BJP and 40-50 to Congress and Times Now poll gives 72 to BJP and 53 to Congress.
“I would not like to go into numbers, but according to me, the BJP and its alliance partners will easily get a majority and form the next government. The final figure may vary by few seats in comparison to 2016,” senior minister and BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma told a local TV channel.
In 2016, the BJP came to power by winning 60 seats while its alliance partners, Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) got 14 and Bodoland Peoples Front (BPF) secured 12 seats.
On the other hand, the Congress won 26 seats and All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) ended up with 13 seats. Both parties as well as the BPF, which switched over from the BJP-led alliance, are part of the Congress-led alliance this time.
The ABP-CVoter poll, however, suggests a very close contest between the two alliances. It projects 58-71 seats for BJP and 53-66 to the Congress alliance.
And exit polls have been known to go wrong.
“The exit polls don’t portray the true picture as the sample survey is very small. One can’t decide the result of a seat which has nearly 200,000 voters by talking to 15-20 persons. We are confident of a win and it will be clear on May 2,” chairperson of Assam Congress media committee Bobbeeta Sharma said.
The polls have predicted anywhere between 1-4 seats to ‘Others’; a reference to smaller parties and independents. This includes the two newly-formed parties Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) and Raijor Dal, which contested the polls together, as well as other smaller parties and Independent candidates who were not part of any of the pre-poll alliances.
“None of the alliances will get more than 55 seats this time and the third force of Assam Jatiya Parishad and Raijor Dal will play a crucial role in formation of the next government. The exit polls have failed to factor in the young and silent voters,” said president of Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) Lurinjyoti Gogoi.
While BJP contested on 93 seats, its alliance partners AGP and United Peoples Party Liberal (UPPL) fought from 29 and 11 seats, respectively. The Congress contested on 95 seats and the AIUDF and the BPF had fought elections on 20 and 12 seats, respectively. There were a few friendly contests among the allies in both alliances.
“The exit polls are on expected lines. The BJP encountered a tough election, but they fought it with equal preparedness leaving nothing to chance. The final figures may differ, but according to me BJP has a clear advantage,” said Akhil Ranjan Dutta, professor of political science in Gauhati University.